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Axi-Cel Shows High Remission Rates in Hard-to-Treat DLBCL

Key clinical point: Axicabtagene ciloleucel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy showed high remission rates in patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who had been heavily pre-treated.

Major finding: At 3 month follow-up, 80% of patients achieved a complete remission, including one patient with HIV and two patients with central nervous system involvement.

Study details: A retrospective case series of 10 patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL.

Disclosures: No funding sources were reported. The authors reported having no conflicts of interest.


Abbasi A et al. J Hematol Oncol. 2020 Jan 3. doi: 10.1186/s13045-019-0838-y.


Clinical trials have shown efficacy in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients treated with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells. This small retrospective study reports impressive complete response rates in real world DLBCL patients who are typically sicker than those enrolled on clinical trials. However, the key data point for this novel therapeutic approach is duration of response. The long-term efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy remains unknown. Patients with DLBCL who progress after CAR T-cell administration, even if they initially respond, are likely to have short survival times. We await follow up data in the months and years after treatment with CAR T-cells in order to have a more accurate assessment of their effectiveness in relapsed/refractory DLBCL patients.—Sarah Rutherford, MD